By Paul Gable
When S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s office reported recently that state agencies had approximately $166 million in excess cash from last year’s general fund budget, one place you knew it wouldn’t wind up is back with the taxpayer.
Politicians in this most conservative of states are constantly preaching the mantra of reduced spending, smaller, less intrusive government and greater individual freedom. It just never seems to work out that way.
The overall state general fund budget for FY 2012 was approximately $5.48 billion with state agencies not spending the $166 million mentioned above. General fund revenues are projected to increase during the current fiscal year, FY 2013, to $6.09 billion.
Did the General Assembly, in the current budget, try to hold the line on spending and use any excess to pay down the approximately $15 billion shortfall in the state pension fund? How about giving some of the excess back to the taxpayers from whence it comes?
Of course not! In this allegedly conservative Republican state, the General Assembly increased spending for this year and even left a list of contingent spending to soak up the $166 million excess from last year.
It would be nice to return at least some of the excess back to the taxpayer, but considerations like getting re-elected come first. It’s more important to fund pork projects and get the contracts into the hands of big campaign donors.
As a Tea Party candidate for the Georgia state legislature described it to me yesterday, there are two types of Republican – those who want to continue the present big government/big business connection at the expense of most of the people and those who truly want to reduce government spending and return responsibility to the people.
We know which side most of our state legislators prefer.
Below is a link to an article in “The Nerve” which does a good job of explaining the budget excess: